26 Pebbles

Sponsored by

  • Barbara N. O’Hara
  • Rob and Leesa Comparin
  • Jack and Maryann Bernstein
  • Moore Family Fund
  • Barbara E. Blauman
  • The George B. Quatman Foundation – Fifth Third Bank, Trustee

26 Pebbles

by Eric Ulloa
directed by Igor Goldin

February 2 – 19, 2017

On December 14, 2012, an act of unbelievable madness took the lives of 20 innocent children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. These 26 deaths—described by one local resident as “pebbles thrown into a pond”—created ripples that captured the attention of the entire nation. Now, through a series of interviews with the people of this small New England town, the true stories of that tragic day and its aftermath come to light in this powerful drama that asks, “How does a community endure the ultimate test, and what comes after the cameras and noise leave?”

Run time: Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission

Sponsored by

  • Barbara N. O’Hara
  • Rob and Leesa Comparin
  • Jack and Maryann Bernstein
  • Moore Family Fund
  • Barbara E. Blauman
  • The George B. Quatman Foundation – Fifth Third Bank, Trustee

Performance Schedule

  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun Feb 19
  • MonFeb 20
  • MonFeb 21
  • MonFeb 22
  • MonFeb 23
  • MonFeb 24
  • MonFeb 25

Special Performance Legend

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Thursday night Preview Performance

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Inside Track free pre-show discussion with playwright Eric Ulloa and director Igor Goldin, begins in the Loft lobby at 7:15 pm

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Opening Night with post-show cast party in the Loft lobby

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Sawbuck Sunday, all available seats just $10 at the door starting 2 hours prior to performance

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Lite Fare food and drink available for sale in the Loft lobby starting at 5:30 pm

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Audio Described / Sign Interpreted performance (available with two weeks notice)

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Talk Back: “While We’re on the Subject” free post-show discussion (following the matinee performance) with Annie Stephens of Sandy Hook Promise

Creative Team

Eric Ulloa • Playwright

Eric Ulloa • Playwright

Eric is honored to have 26 Pebbles hold its world premiere here at one of his favorite creative homes, The Human Race Theatre Company. Eric is also the librettist of the musicals Molly Sweeney (Human Race’s 2014 Festival of New Musicals) and Passing Through. On the acting front, Eric has appeared on Broadway in On Your Feet!, the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and throughout the country in various regional theaters (twice at HRTC). “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” ericulloa.com

Igor Goldin • Director

Igor Goldin • Director

Igor is thrilled to back at The Human Race Theatre Company where he last directed the workshop production of the new musical adaptation of the Brian Friel play Molly Sweeney. Mr. Goldin is known primarily for developing new works for the stage – most notably the Off-Broadway production of the WWII musical Yank! (Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Director of a Musical). Other Off-Broadway productions include New York Times critic picks, With Glee and A Ritual of Faith. Mr. Goldin has directed 11 original works for the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) garnering him 3 NYMF Awards for Excellence in Direction for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Crossing Swords and Common Grounds. Recently he directed the world premiere of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (McCoy Rigby Entertainment, La Mirada, CA) and will be revisiting it this summer under its new title, Austen’s Pride (Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival). He also recently revisited Crossing Swords for the American Theatre Group in New Jersey. Regional credits include: Memphis; West Side Story (Long Island ‘Encore’ Theatre Award, Best Director); The Producers; Evita!; The Music Man (Encore Theatre Award, Best Musical); Twelve Angry Men and South Pacific (Engeman); Sweeney Todd (Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival - Syracuse Area Live Theater Award nomination for Director of the Year); Baby (Infinity Theatre, Annapolis); Tick, Tick…BOOM! (American Theatre Group); Maple and Vine (Cygnet Theatre, San Diego) and I Love You Because (New Hampshire Theatre Award nomination for Best Direction of a Musical). Upcoming: Oklahoma! (Engeman). Mr. Goldin was nominated by his peers as a top 5 finalist for the SDC Joe A. Callaway Award for Distinguished Direction. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). www.igorgoldin.com

Scott J. Kimmins • Scenic Designer

This is Scott’s 20th season as the Technical Director for The Human Race Theatre Company where he has built over 140 productions for the Loft stage as well as the Victoria Theatre. His 18 designs for the Loft include: the world premieres of Family Shots and Under a Red Moon, as well as Master Class, The Santaland Diaries, Torch Song Trilogy, Band Geeks!, Ordinary Days, Brother Wolf, The Wonder Bread Years, Children of Eden, Forever Plaid and Copenhagen, which received a DayTony Award for Excellence in Set Design. Scott also designed The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Bent and A Man Haunted at Wright State University where he attended school for 5 years in the Design/Production Program. Other design credits include Tuesdays with Morrie at the Victoria Theatre, The Infernal Machine for Sinclair College, Yellowman for Dream Keepers and Bunk Bed Brothers for Sweetwood Productions, also on the Victoria Theatre stage in 2005.

Jessica Pitcairn • Costume Designer

Jessica is a native of Cincinnati and has recently relocated back to Ohio after almost a decade in New York City where she worked as a Costume Designer, Assistant Costume Designer, and Costume Coordinator in theatre (Manhattan Theatre Club), film (Eat Pray Love), and television (Law & Order). Locally, Jessica was the costume designer for The Know Theatre’s Girlfriend and this spring she will be designing costumes for the Cincinnati Ballet’s New Works Series. BFA: Denison University. MFA: Brandeis University. Proud United Scenic Artists Member. For more of Jessica’s work, please visit www.jessicapitcairn.com.

John Rensel+ • Lighting Designer

John Rensel+ • Lighting Designer

John is the long-term Resident Lighting Designer for The Human Race Theatre Company, Muse Machine, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Pops series and Dayton Opera Association. He also serves as the long-time Technical Director for the Fraze Pavilion and has provided technical advance production coordination, lighting designs, automation programming and performance operation services for many artists and productions that have visited that venue. John also has a diverse dance lighting background, having provided lighting designs and technical production services for many years to The Dayton Ballet and Dayton Contemporary Dance Co. John’s national credits included a lighting design package for a National Touring Production of the Elton John/Tim Rice collaboration Aida. Some of his most recent local credits include all the designs for the 2015-16 Human Race Theatre Company’s season at The Loft Theatre; Muse Machine’s productions at the Victoria Theatre and the Dayton Opera Association’s 2015-16 season at the Schuster Center. John freely admits that he often loses his copies of the shows’ scripts.

Jay Brunner+ • Composer/Sound Designer

Jay Brunner+ • Composer/Sound Designer

Jay’s HRTC Sound Design/Original Composition credits include: Hail Mary!, The Glass Menagerie, Sweeney Todd, Taking Shakespeare, Crowns and others. Music Director/Musician credits: Fiddler on the Roof, Mame, Play It by Heart, Next to Normal, Avenue Q and others. Jay has designed sound/incidental music for countless voiceovers, regional commercials, radio spots, training videos, collegiate theatre projects, marching bands, clubs, and organizations, as well as conjuring sound at many venues throughout the region. He owns and runs a professional recording studio (Ardmore Underground) with his wife, fellow HRTC Resident Artist Christine Brunner.

Lexi Muller* • Stage Manager

Lexi is happy to be returning to the Loft Theatre, where her previous productions include The Santaland Diaries, Hail Mary!, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, One Slight Hitch and The Glass Menagerie. Other regional credits include Dayton Philharmonic’s Best of Broadway II concert at the Schuster Center. She is a proud graduate of Wright State University, where she received her BFA in Stage Management.

Cast

Christine Brunner*+ • Actor 5

Christine Brunner*+ • Actor 5

Christine is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and a proud Resident Artist with Human Race Theatre Company where she has appeared as Truvy (Steel Magnolias), Debbie Dean (Play It by Heart), in the Marsha Hanna New Plays Workshop presentation of My Von Trapp Life (Maria Von Trapp/Mary Martin), Gillian (Permanent Collection), both seasons of A Christmas Carol (Mrs. Cratchitt/Charwoman/Various) and the original company of Adventures in Time Radio Drama Series. She has a BFA/MA in Theatre from Miami University where she taught acting for 7 years, and is a busy voiceover artist, hand model and actor for companies like McGraw-Hill, Macy’s, Glad, Newport Aquarium, AAA, Dawn, Charmin, Marriott, and Campbell’s Soup. Christine teaches Acting Aesthetics at Wright State University, where she also is faculty in the MAPP program, and is a dialect, audition and private acting coach, and she teaches in The Human Race Theatre Company Educational Program. Her husband is Sound Designer/Composer Jay Brunner (also a HRTC Resident Artist) and the two are parents to Elementary School Super Star and pianist Zoe.

Gina Handy* • Actor 4

Gina Handy* • Actor 4

Gina is returning to HRTC after last being seen in Sweeney Todd. Favorite regional credits include: The Book of Merman (Evolution Theatre Company), Sunset Blvd. and The Full Monty (Short North Stage), Nunsense and Anything Goes (Arizona Broadway Theatre) Company, Les Misérables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, How the Other Half Loves (Phoenix Theatre), Seussical (Childsplay), 42nd Street and Swing! (Little Theatre on the Square), and the national tours of A Christmas Carol and Tomas and the Library Lady. She is the theatre magnet director for Stivers School for the Arts and the founding artistic director of Magnolia Theatre Company in Dayton. She has a BFA in musical theatre from Mars Hill University. sandyhookpromise.org

Scott Hunt*+ • Actor 3

Scott Hunt*+ • Actor 3

Scott is a proud Resident Artist with HRTC, having appeared on the Loft stage in over two dozen productions spanning two decades. He has been seen on Broadway and in the national touring productions of Les Misérables (Marius) and Rent (Mark Cohen). Each and every performance dedicated to Charles F. Hardin (1927-1999).

Jennifer Joplin*+ • Actor 6

Jennifer Joplin*+ • Actor 6

Jennifer is always thrilled to come and play with The Human Race! Originally from St. Louis, Jen has worked across the country as an actress, teacher, corporate trainer and voiceover artist. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and graduate of Wright State University. Some of her favorite regional roles include Rosemary Muldoon in Outside Mullingar and Gwen Harper in Rapture, Blister, Burn at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati as well as Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. But it’s been right here on the HRTC stage that Ms. Joplin has been given the opportunity to display her parenting skills as Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, her nervous breakdown skills as Brooke in Other Desert Cities and even her projectile vomiting skills as Annette in God of Carnage. She calculated her way through Proof, survived the curse of Macbeth and soared through parts 1 and 2 of Angels in America. The Human Race tells great stories and that is truly what connects us all. Together we weep, together we laugh and – hopefully – together we get a little closer to understanding our role in this world. Jen would like to offer a humble thank you to the brave people who bare all when they share their stories. And to our audience, to Kevin, Tara, Eric, Igor, and this amazing cast and crew – thank you for the chance to share this one with you. For you, Becky.

Caitlin McWethy* • Actor 1

Caitlin McWethy* • Actor 1

Caitlin is honored to be making her Human Race Theatre Company debut with this beautiful and poignant piece of theater. Based in Cincinnati, she has spent four seasons as a resident ensemble member of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, where her most recent work includes Margot (The Diary of Anne Frank), Joan of Arc (Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 1), and Roxanne (Cyrano de Bergerac). She’ll be back in April as Ariel in The Tempest in CSC’s final performance before heading to it’s brand new theatre. She has worked all over the east coast, performing with Virginia Stage Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Georgia Shakespeare, Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Theatre West Virginia, and Annapolis Shakespeare Company as well as in New York at the 52nd Street Project and Manhattan Theatre Club. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University. Deepest gratitude to her remarkable family.

Jason Podplesky* • Actor 2

Jason Podplesky* • Actor 2

Jason is an actor, director, and teacher. Regionally, he has worked at The Guthrie Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Contemporary American Theatre Company, North Shore Music Theatre, Red Herring Theatre Company, The Know Theatre of Cincinnati and was last seen at The Human Race as Steve in Becky’s New Car. In New York, he has worked at The Flea Theater, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Public Theater, MCC, The Gallery Players, and was a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab. His academic credits include CCM, Wittenberg University, Wright State University, The City University of New York, Ohio Dominican University, and Denison University.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.
+Resident Artist of The Human Race Theatre Company.
The Director is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, an independent national labor union.
The costume designer of this production is represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE.

From the Playwright

26 Pebbles - “It needs to be told.”
by Eric Ulloa

December 14th, 2012, or as many citizens of Newtown call it, 12/14.

President Obama called it the worst day of his Presidency.

For me, it was something that shook me at my core and a feeling that wouldn’t leave for months after. I was angry at what we had just endured, and was tired of finding myself once again not able to do anything about it.

Finally, at around 6 months after the tragedy, I set off to Newtown with a handful of questions that I was hoping to have answered by the members of this community. The only plan was to be open and to listen. I was just interested in the real stories of how human beings deal and process an unimaginable moment like this.

It all began with only one scheduled interview, which soon after became three…and then six…and then ten. By the end of it all, I ended up spending a few weeks in Newtown and held over 60 interviews with people from all walks of life. I was given free housing (literally someone gave me their home to stay in), multiple meals, families who took care of my dog during the day and gave me access to parts of this story that no one else had. I had become a member of their community and they had become instant lifelong friends.

It was clear after a handful of these interviews, that I was being told a story much like Our Town, and that these stories would become the dialogue in a play about this community and how they attempted to find light within such darkness.

26 Pebbles is not a play about the death of 20 young children and 6 adults. Those are just the circumstances.

26 Pebbles is the story of hope and of family and of community. It is the story of the human condition.

My trips to Newtown left me forever changed in many aspects of my life and how I live it. I no longer stand on the sidelines when upsetting moments arise. I jump right into the action with whatever tools I can, knowing that as a citizen of this country with a voice, I too can make a hell of a lot of change.

Upon leaving Newtown, the last words of many of these friends of mine were quite simple and direct.

“Go tell our story. It needs to be told.”

And so today, I ask you simply the same thing, with my own question attached.
Go spread this story. It needs to be told. Because can’t we do better than this?